The latest work of fiction by St. Mary’s University Writer-in-Residence Diane Bertrand titled “The Ruiz Street Kids/Los Muchachos de la Calle Ruiz” has been honored by two organizations for excellence.

The book, which can be read in either English or Spanish, is intended for intermediate readers ages 8-11 and tells the story of a group of young boys who live and play on Ruiz Street and how they react when a new kid moves into the neighborhood. It is about making new friends, relationships between brothers and sisters and how first impressions can be deceiving.

Latino Literary Now, a non-profit organization supporting literacy and literary excellence with in the Latino community, named Bertrand’s book Best Young Adult Fiction (bilingual) at its 2007 International Latino Book Awards.

The book was also honored as a best bilingual book at the 2007 Skipping Stone Awards, presented by Skipping Stones magazine, a non-profit magazine for youth that encourages cooperation, creativity and celebration of cultural and environmental riches.

“The Ruiz Street Kids” is also a finalist for the Tejas Star Award, a new award that will be given at the 2008 Rio Grande Book Festival. To select the winner, the 10 finalist books will be read by school children in the Rio Grande Valley during the 2007-08 school year, and the children will select their favorite.

In addition to serving as writer-in-residence, Bertrand, who is a San Antonio native, teaches writing at St. Mary’s. Her previous works include a children’s novel, “Alicia’s Treasure,” and two award-winning novels for middle school students, “Trino’s Choice” and “Trino’s Time.”  She has written award-winning numerous picture books, including “The Empanadas that Abuela Made.”

Another recent bilingual work, “My Pal, Victor/Mi amigo Victor” earned the 2005 Schneider Family Book Award from the American Library Association. Her collection of bilingual short fiction, “Upside Down and Backwards,” earned honorable mention in the Paterson Prize for Young Adults and was a finalist for the Writers League of Texas’ Teddy Book Award for Children’s Books.

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